SFD provides EGP 700m for women-run small and micro projects

Egyptian women received loans of more than EGP 700m of the EGP 3.1bn provided by the Social Fund for Development (SFD) for small and micro projects, according to Raafat Abbas Shehata, head of the technical office at the fund.

In a conference on Monday, Abbas said these loans have been pumped into the Egyptian market from January to August.

Abbas noted that the Fund is paying more intention to Egyptian women, pointing out that the loans provided to women in the last five years amount to EGP 3bn for small and micro-enterprises.

He added that more than 28% of SFD employees are women, including the Secretary-General of the Fund. Moreover, the women of Upper Egypt receive the most funds.

Meanwhile, SFD Managing Director Soha Soliman announced that the SFD is developing a sophisticated strategy to contribute to the empowerment of women economically and socially, in collaboration with UNDP and the Swedish Embassy.

Soliman added that a specialised unit was formed (Gender Unit) to integrate women in the various programmes and projects initiated by the Fund. The unit also organises training and qualification programmes for women to encourage them to run their own projects.

“SFD has an ambitious plan for the development of women’s capabilities to assist in obtaining the necessary skills and start the expansion and growth of small and micro projects as well as increase economic returns of these projects,” Soliman said.

“The projects run by women reached 24% of the total small projects and 47% of the micro projects after the 25 January Revolution.”

SFD provides other non-financial services for women, such as marketing products through participation in expos, and provides services to obtain licenses, trade records and tax cards.

In March, UN Women announced it will provide approximately 5m jobs for Egyptian women by the end of 2020, according to the organisation’s representative, Ziad Sheikh.

The jobs will be created in cooperation with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and Coca Cola.